Andhra Pradesh

Panabaka confident of becoming first woman MP from Tirupati

Says it will be a direct fight between the TDP and the YSRCP

Though dubbed a newcomer to the Tirupati (SC) Lok Sabha constituency and to the TDP as well, an unperturbed Panabaka Lakshmi exudes confidence that she will become the first woman MP to represent the abode of Lord Venkateswara.

Ms. Lakshmi, who had represented the Bapatla (SC) and Nellore constituencies earlier, was the Union Minister during the UPA regime. She, however, was pushed to insignificance after bifurcation as was the case with several Congress leaders.

“My only aim is to serve the people by staying in active politics. Though I was reluctant to move away from the Congress after bifurcation, it was TDP president N. Chandrababu Naidu’s perseverant efforts that made me consider joining the TDP,” she admits.

Ms. Lakshmi, who started Friday’s campaign along with MLA candidate M. Suguna by paying tributes at the Babu Jagjivan Ram’s statue commemorating his 112th birth anniversary, spoke to The Hindu on the sidelines of her canvassing.

Stating that it would be a direct fight between the TDP and the YSRCP this time, she said, “The Congress has become irrelevant, the BJP has incurred the State’s wrath and the JSP-BSP combine has failed to strike a chord with the voters. Being an MLA, the YSRCP candidate is a stranger to the rest of the LS constituency, whereas I am familiar in more than four of the seven constituencies as the former Nellore MP. I have a better chance to win.”

Thrust areas

Ms. Lakshmi says her top priority is to provide employment to the local youth. With half-a-dozen universities, the IIT, the IIIT, and the IISER ensuring a tangible higher education ecosystem and the Tirupati-Nellore industrial corridor steadily developing, she sees an imperative need to skill up the local youth to land jobs.

The Dugarajapatnam port project, which remained a non-starter, and the closure of NTPC-BHEL Power Projects Limited (NBPPL) plant at Mannavaram were the greatest failures on the industrial front, for which Ms. Lakshmi squarely blamed the Centre’s indifference.

“In utter disregard to the bifurcation promises and the State’s demands, the NDA deliberately relegated the projects by nursing a grudge against the TDP. We will ensure that these projects are back on track,” she said.

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Printable version | May 30, 2020 9:05:01 AM |

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